This article looks at how a deliberate shift in our views on goal setting can net drastic cumulative results in the long run.
Whether it’s career goals or personal goals, we’ve all been there – setting aggressive and sometimes overtly ambitious goals, chasing after it, hitting road bumps and eventually become de- motivated to never see the goal come to fruition.
Nobody likes to be stuck in a plateau. You might spend months working hard towards a goal without seeing any progress. It can be incredibly frustrating to feel your motivations go unrewarded.
How you react to a plateau will decide whether you’re going to eventually be successful. While many people react by burning themselves out or quitting, some people continue showing up, every day. The people that show up, through sheer patience, will eventually break through their plateau.
Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast, or a god.~Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon may have exaggerated, but his point was clear: most people despise being alone. People will surround themselves in harmful relationships to avoid solitude. They will change their clothes, hobbies or even their religious beliefs just to fit in. And, the idea of being completely alone in the world is a common theme in horror films.
However, there is a power in being able to find contentment in solitude. Bacon, wasn’t far off when he ascribed god-like powers to the people who can enjoy solitude. If you are able to be happy alone, then even in the emptiest times in life you can find peace and even joy.
I’m not suggesting solitude is better than being with people. Simply that it’s impossible to completely avoid aloneness in life, so it’s worth having a strategy to find joy in those moments. Enjoying solitude can also give you an independence that makes you less desperate with friends and less likely to cling onto lousy relationships.
In this article, I’m going to share the lessons I learned that doubled my reading rate, allowed me to consume over 70 books in a year and made me a smarter reader. I’m also going to destroy some speed-reading myths, to show you it isn’t magic but a skill anyone can learn.
How I Started Speed Reading
My first introduction to the concept of speed reading was from a book, Breakthrough Rapid Reading. I’ve since moved away from a few of the concepts taught in the book, but the core ideas were transformative. In only a few weeks, my average reading speed went from roughly 450 words per minute, to over 900.
Rote memorization is an inefficient way to learn. Just retaining a single formula can mean pounding the same information into your skull dozens of times. If your computer hard drive had this accuracy, you’d probably throw it out.
Unfortunately, you’re stuck with your brain. The good news is that you don’t need to learn by memorization. The vast majority of information is better stored in your head using a completely different system – learning through connecting ideas together.
A few years ago, I noticed that smart people seemed to learn differently than most other people. While most people would review the same information dozens of times, smart people only needed to review once or twice. While most people would apply ideas to problems in the ways that they had been taught, smart people used the ideas in many different contexts.
While there are undoubtedly some genetic advantages that allow some people to learn effortlessly, I think part of this difference in success comes down to strategy. While most people were trying to memorize, smart people were coming up with creative connections between ideas. These connections made the ideas easier to remember, so less memorizing was required. Additionally, the new connections made the ideas easier to understand, so learning itself was faster.
As we approach mid-year, are there any goals you had set at the start of this year that you want to make progress on? Here is a simple tool that can help you in becoming more productive and effective.
There is an old business adage, “what is measured, improves.” I believe that lesson applies, to not just your business, but also your life. If you measure something, you gain conscious awareness of it. If you gain conscious awareness, you increase your ability to control it.
Today is the third day of a week-long diet log I’m running. My diet log is simply recording everything that I eat for an entire week. Recently, I set a few fitness goals, and I wanted to ensure that my eating habits were matching my plan of action.
I measure more than just what I eat. I record personal expenses, how I use my time, what books I read and many other personal metrics. This may seem a tad obsessive, but I’ve found it greatly helps me in staying productive and reaching my goals. Besides, a little obsessiveness isn’t always a bad thing when it comes to reaching your personal targets.
How to complete a full workday by noon? Sounds impossible, right? But on many days, by 12 o’clock, I have completed work that should normally take eight hours. And I don’t wake up at 4 a.m. to achieve this.
Actually, finishing everything by noon isn’t too difficult. If you add up all the time you spend procrastinating, distracted, or tired at work, it would probably make up half of your day. If you eliminated this wasted time, ending your day at noon wouldn’t be hard.
The problem, of course, is in the actual elimination of all that wasted time. A lot of productivity advice looks like simplistic dieting advice (“Eat less!”). Unfortunately cutting that wasted time is the tricky part. However, by making a few simple changes in your approach, you can make it far easier to cut the fat.
Don’t Pay Yourself by The Hour
If you view work as something that starts at 9 and ends at 5, you won’t be able to finish everything by noon. When you evaluate yourself for time spent working, rather than work completed, procrastination is often the result.